“Sir, you are wearing that thread. I too want to wear that thread. How to do it?” asked an innocent teenaged attendant of a hotel room when I was changing my dress. This question suddenly questioned my conscience to the core.
The thread he was referring to was my “jhandyam”(sacred thread), which actually defines me as a practising brahmin. But that poor innocent orphan does not know the importance of that sacred thread to me. I immediately did not have any answer to tell him as a matter of fact. I just avoided that fellow who followed me and asked me when and where he can wear that.
I could come out of that situation by sidetracking him to another topic and giving him an errand job. But my mind is still thinking. What he implied to me was, what is your qualification to wear that thread and what is my disqualification to not wear that thread?
I asked myself a question,
Why I am wearing this thread?
Because, I am a brahmin.
Then the next question followed,
Are you practising the profession of a Brahmana?
No! I am just doing a job and not practising the path of a Brahmana.
Then why should you wear this thread? What qualifies you to wear this thread?
Just that I am born in a Brahmin family and am conforming to the societal obilgations.
So why should that boy who wants to be a Brahmana be barred from wearing it?
This last question is a bit difficult to answer, but I believe that our vedic texts and scriptures have not barred anyone from leading the life of a Brahmana and they have not put across any restriction that only a progeny of a brahmanas should practise the path of a Brahamana.
So in theory, that boy who wants to wear this thread can wear it and practise the caste of brahmana, but will the rigid society allow that concession to that boy? That is a zillion dollar question.